We still had more than half a day to enjoy Seoul before leaving with 17.15 flight back to Jakarta. We checked out Hotel after breakfast and hopped on to Taxi to take us to Bukchon Hanok Village.
Photo shoot at Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village is a Korean traditional village in Seoul with a long history located on the top of a hill between Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeok Palace and Jongmyo Royal Shrine. The traditional village is composed of lots of alleys and is preserved to show a 600-year-old urban environment.
I decided to splurge and hire Frame a trip instead of the usual tripod to celebrate our 15 years together. We met with Rufus, our photographer, who was very professional and friendly. Our 1 hour photo session was very efficient because our photographer knew the location on the back of his hand and Bukchon Hanok Village on Sunday morning is very quiet. Recently in 2018 because of a large increase of tourists visiting the area, they have changed the hours of when people may visit from 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and Sundays is now closed to nonresidents. We were asked to be quiet at all times to respect the residents who lived there.
How to get there
If you want to get to Bukchon Hanok Village, it is close to Samcheong-dong street and located between the Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace. Hop on the subway to Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3). Take exit 3 and head to your right. After about 200 meters you will see a large information sign that begins the Bukchon Village Walking Tour.
Insadong is one of the oldest and most culturally important neighbourhood in Korea. It has cobbled streets lined with quaint little shops and family-run restaurants,
Top things to do in Insadong:
- Rent Hanbok and pose in Insadong Tourist Information Center
- Explore hundred of shops, stalls, cafes, workshops and art galleries in Ssamziegil shopping center. Insadong is the best pace to shop for Korea gift such as Korean pendants and jewelries, tea set, hanbok, name stamp, art supplies, korean rice cakes, handmade papers, paintings and pottery.
- Take a break in Tapgol Park. In the centerpiece of Tapgol Park you can see gigantic pagoda that dated back to 15th century, filled with traditional pavillions and life-sized stone carvings that depict Korea’s struggle for independence. Nowadays many protests are still held in Tapgol park because of its historical and cultural meaning.
- Buy Traditional Korean Mask or Hahoetal mask in Talbang Shop
- Take a sip from dozen varieties of Tea in Shin Old Tea House
- Shop for bangjja (special kind of brassware) in Napcheong Bronzeware. Like many things in Korea, it’s steeped in tradition. Newlyweds are often given Bangjja set pf plates, bowls and chopstick.
- Step into Kyung -in Museum of Fine Art
- Visit Alive Museum, an interactive museum offering funky trick art.
- Learn about Kimchi-making process in Kimchi Museum
From Insadong we continue waking to Ikseon-dong. Ikseon-dong only recently started to become a trend as young artists and entrepreneurs began to open businesses like cafes, restaurants, and handicraft shops with unique concepts and designs.
We chose one cute cafe and had brunch before heading back to our Hotel.
To avoid traffic we took subway (finally). Subway is Korea is pretty straightforward: buy the ticket in the ticket machine and follow the route. There is english sign everywhere.
VAT Refund in Incheon airport
We took the limousine airport bus which leave on hourly basis from our Hotel to Incheon Airport. Journey time is 1-1.5 hours. We went early to Incheon airport because I needed to claim Tax refund for all my shopping frenzy.
The process turned out to be very efficient and fast. I checked in first and had my luggage tagged and then walked to the Tax refund area. There were friendly officer next to the machine who help us scanning our passport. From there I had my luggage checked before shipping back to the conveyor belt, then proceed to take the cash refund, which again is assisted by the officer. This is definitely one of the most efficient Tax refund process I ever encountered.
Seoul airport has a praying room for moslem but you need to do the ablution in the separate toilet and female need to bring their own praying robe because they only provide praying mat.
Our flight was on time and we finally bid good bye to Seoul. I have enjoyed my short trip and put Seoul in my bucket list to visit in autumn or during cherry blossom season.